Friday, 26 July 2013

Best homemade DIY playdoh playdough recipe

This is the best home made DIY playdough recipe ever. It doesn’t crumble, it doesn’t stain, it is food safe, it is nontoxic, it models and shapes really well, is long lasting and it has a great texture- just like Playdoh brand, only way cheaper.

·         1 cup salt
·         2 cups plain flour
·         4 teaspoons cream of tartar
·         1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
·         2 cups water
·         Food colour

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and mix well.
Cook for five minutes over moderate heat, stirring all the time. It will look like a soggy mess, but so long as all the ingredients are well mixed it will turn out just fine. You will know it is ready when a dough ball forms and starts to pull away from the side of the saucepan.
Allow mixture to cool slightly and then knead the dough for 1-2 minutes (until the texture matches that of store bought Playdoh).
Store in an airtight plastic container in the fridge. Should last for at least 3 months.

Happy playing,
Sandi D

Monday, 22 July 2013

The best baby shower gift: Australian Parent and Carer CPR & First Aid Courses. Infant, Baby, Toddler and Child First Aid Classes Queensland.

I recently saved a little boy’s life. 

It was a couple of weeks ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

I was at Ikea with my friend, Reb, and my son, Hunter. We had enjoyed a yummy lunch, I tasted banoffee pie for the first time, Hunter enjoyed his chicken nuggets and chips and my meatballs and mash and rebs snack too. Afterwards we walked through the newly remodelled display halls and chatted. Reb said she would happily look after Hunter if I wanted to have a look unencumbered, so I cruised ahead, enjoying the hands free shopping experience.

I was looking at some pretty plastic thing (forgotten now, the experience having put it back into perspective which is to say it was trivial decorative wank) when I noticed an 8 year old girl pushing an 18 month old boy in a stroller. I could tell where her mum and grandmother were as their nappy bag matched the stroller fabric, they were about 8 meters or so behind us discussing the relative merits of some prospective purchases. The little boy was eating a packet of sultanas. He had a funny expression on his face, and I smiled at him for a second before realising that his grimace was because he was choking. His big sister noticed this at the same time as me, her soft voice way to quiet for her mum to hear “Mum, I think he is choking”.

I did not stop to think. I rushed across the aisle of Ikea, pushing people out of the way. I threw my satchel on the ground and recall that it slid into a display but I was too busy ripping a stranger’s child out of his stroller to care about the mess. He was beyond terror. His little face showed struggle, and growing fear. I tore open his harness and pulled him towards me. I used firm upwards movements across his little heaving back to dislodge the blockage. The commotion alerted his mum. She reached us just as her little boy puked it out. Her face was completely stone cold shocked. I passed him to her and I could feel the energy pulsing out of her. The relief and terror on her face was palpable.

Afterwards it felt surreal. For one moment the veil of stranger had been pushed aside, a door of shared humanity swung open, we shared something so unreal, and then moments later we were done, back to strangers. Seeing her hold him to her chest and both of them crying somehow closed that door. I told the little girl she did a good job of alerting us, and when she can she should learn first aid because she was very smart to be so helpful. She beamed back at me as her grandmother passed me some baby wipes to mop up the spew. I felt like an intruder. I gathered my things up and headed back into the belly of the Ikea beast because all I needed at the moment was to hold my own son to me.

As I walked away the grandmother ran after me. She stared at the vomit on my arm and jeans as she thanked me, and all I could do was glibly say "no worries".

I guess I just want to let you all know that toddlers choke all the time. I’m not being provocative- it is just a fact. Rather than be afraid, be smart. Educate yourself on how to help- the life you save could someone dear to you. I wouldn’t have known what to do if my girlfriend had not done the exact same thing for a friend’s baby at Hunter’s second birthday. I asked her to show me what she had done, and after the party I watched a few Youtube Tutorials, such as this one:

Knowledge is power,
Sandi D

Friday, 5 July 2013

Trufulla Tree Party Favors, two weeks later! A blooming good idea!

I saw on a Montessori blog about the benefits toddlers enjoy from planting and playing with nature, at about the time I was hunting for cheap party favor bags. I had bought two $2 packets of 8 carboard 'candy boxes' from a cheapy $2 store and wasnt sure how to fill them. I think they get quite expensive and I was hoping to keep the costs down. Then I realised I could combine the two: buy a $3 bag of soil and two packets of $0.75 sunflower seeds and for under $8 make 16 party favors...

And thus I ended up with a forgotten laundry tub still half filled with soil sprouting multiple 'Trufulla Trees' in my back yard. Hunter is very excited to have a job- he was asked today if he wanted to help care for the plant and he most certainly did. It was adorable to watch him water them. He kept asking for more and more water.

We aren't the only ones either, I have had numerous mums and kids tell me their seeds are sprouting! . I just realised though that I also bought 2 $2 hand spades so the total cost was actually $12, which probably isn't that cheap anymore. Especially as once I got home I remembered Hunter's water play table also had a plastic spade and watering can... But I got to keep those, so maybe it evens out? The planting 'Trufulla Trees' was almost certainly more entertaining than your usual party bag- Kids of all ages (and even some dads) were merrily digging in the dirt! And it did double duty as a party activity too, which kept costs down in the entertainment category too.

How does your garden grow?
Sandi D

Monday, 1 July 2013

Dr Seuss themed party food: Things I learned.

Cat In The Hat pancake skewers with fresh strawberries and cream, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish jelly cups, Hop On Popcorn, Oh The Places You'll Go biscuits, Thing One and Thing Two fairy floss, Trufulla Tree fruit skewers, Green Eggs and Ham chocolate eggs and devilled eggs- if it is on Pinterest you will try and make it.

You will spot these Popcorn boxes from a $2 shop, customise them with your trusty Posca Paint Pen and fill them with lightly salted air popped pop corn tossed in melted white chocolate and Dollar Fives (Hundreds and thousands). Like kettle corn, these salty sweet taste explosions will be gone in a pop! Luckily you got to eat all the ones that were leftover. Omnomnom.

Your dear friend Michelle will make blue fairy floss (we used a Flossy Fairy Floss Machine, and used a few drops of blue food dye to turn the white sugar blue. I let it dry for a few days before the event). It will take AGES, make an epic mess and sadly all twenty five of the little fairy floss cups will melt into nothingness in minutes. Not a single guest will admire them, or eat them because they will all turn into sticky blue stains which render the cupcake liners useless- You won't even be able salvage the custom cases and use them to display lollies. Never again.

You will use a recipe for devilled eggs, adding in an avocado and some horseradish cream and will later realise they were so popular you didn't even get to try one.

Aldi sells plain white marshmallows, Woolworths sells homebrand white chocolate chips and Spotlight sells oil based food colouring powder. You'll want to buy two tubes of the oil based food dye (but of course you wont know that at the time, and be stuck at home with pink chocolate wondering how you'll fix this mess). Overflow sells a bag of 200 multicoloured plastic 'cocktail straws'. Melt the chocolate and the dye together - DO NOT ADD LIQUID FOOD DYE! The chocolate will seize and the only way to fix it is to add coconut oil slowly. So says the voice of experience.

A basic pancake recipe, fresh strawberries and cream in a can. The cream will melt but the guests won't mind. Next time try a stabilised cream recipe.

The most successful food will be The Grinch Christmas Dip. Layers of creamy cheesecake mix and caramel, topped in shattered toffee, served with fresh sliced green apples to dip. Guests will later comment that they tried this and then wanted to take the bowl somewhere private where they could eat the lot remorselessly.

The Pink Yink Drink is just creaming soda, but the Beezlenut juice will take a lot more preparation. For days you will be dying water blue and making ice cubes, making super chunky jelly and chilling lemonade. When it comes time for the drink to be put together, the ice will instantly melt into a blue mess and the jelly will do nothing but cause youngsters concern while simultanesouly dying the laminate of your kitchen bench.

And then the birthday cake. Last years cake was all manner of epic so this year you decide to go easy on yourself and make a ombre layer cake. You'll cheat and use a cake mix and premade icing, which you'll dye with increasing amounts of green food dye. once baked, you'll declare it a failure as none of the cakes rise properly. You'll slive off the uneven tops, slather them with icing, jam them together and then hand the reigns over to your dear (long suffering) friend Michelle. While she slaves at the cake, you'll stuff yourself with cake and wine and hate all over the idea of hosting a party. As always, Michelle will make it all much better. Once fully iced, you'll stab a few straws topped with pompoms in the top and call it a Lorax Trufulla tree forest. No one will care that the cake isn't a fondant topped masterpiece. They will all still be too sparkle eyed by the rest of the food on offer. The guests will merrily sing Happy Birthday, crowding around watching Hunter loose his biscuits over getting to cut a big cake and then eat some too.

All in all, the party is a success. Thank you Pinterest, but mostly thank you Michelle. For a forensic scientist you sure have some rad party skills!

Sandi D
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